One of the highlights of my summer is ORECA’s mid-year meeting in July. As part of the meeting, my board of directors and I will convene to discuss important legislative and regulatory issues before the association.
This year, we’re going to discuss another initiative that has the potential to be transcendent in more ways than one: partnering with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s international program to bring electricity to villages in Bolivia or Guatemala.
It’s hard to fathom that more than a billion people in the world still do not have access to safe and reliable electricity. NRECA has created opportunities for state organizations such as ORECA to sponsor projects in places that still do not have electricity. Other statewide organizations have already taken on this responsibility. Their leaders tell me the experience is as impactful on their co-ops as those who are given the gift of electricity. Exciting, perhaps, but these projects are daunting.
At our meeting, we will hear from those who have done the heavy lifting and learn what it takes to raise money, secure equipment and send linemen to string wires in remote villages. We have much to learn and discuss.
ORECA cannot possibly electrify every village, but perhaps we can adopt a small piece of the planet. The question of whether it’s worth the effort will be answered by look on a child’s face as they see their village illuminated for the very first time.